Government moots merger of struggling telcos MdT and mCel
Mozambique’s economy has shown consistently strong growth for a number of years. The country’s GDP was largely unaffected by the global economic crisis which erupted in 2008, and continues to restrict growth among many economies. GDP growth was 7.1% in 2010, and remained at that level through to 2013. Growth is expected to have increased to 8.3% for 2014.
The country was one of the first in the region to reform its telecom sector, which immediately followed the long civil war which ended in 1992. As a result, the sector has seen the introduction of measures favourable to competition, and which promote access to infrastructure. The mobile segment in particular has shown strong growth since the introduction of competition in 2003 between Vodacom Mozambique and mCel, the incumbent mobile subsidiary of the national telco TdM. Given that mobile market penetration remains far below the African average, and that the country has relatively low fixed-line penetration, there is considerable room for further growth in coming years. This has been stimulated by the launch of commercial services from the third operator Movitel, which is backed by Vietnam’s Viettel.
The government in 2013 drafted a revision of the 2004 Telecommunications Act, aimed at developing greater competition, and facilitating access to networks and infrastructure in a bid to reduce investment costs.
The poor fixed-line infrastructure has largely held back the market for internet services. The high cost of international bandwidth had long hampered internet use given the relatively high cost of access, though the landing of two international submarine fibre optic cables (Seacom and EASSy) has reduced the cost of bandwidth and so led to drastic reductions in broadband retail prices.
Cross-platform competition, with active ADSL, cable broadband, WiMAX, 3G mobile and limited Fibre-to-the-Premise (FttP) services, is also helping the market to develop. Further improvements can be expected from the ongoing rollout of a national fibre backbone networks by TdM and the mobile operators.
Estimated market penetration rates in Mozambique’s telecoms sector – end-2015 (e)
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)
Government suggests that struggling telcos MdT and mCel be merged; SIM card registration deadline again extended; Mozambique misses June 2015 ASO deadline, signs transition arrangements with neighbouring countries; the government reinstates scheme for SIM card registration; government appeals for reduces roaming charges among MNOs; Movitel’s investment strategy leading to rapid subscriber gains; Mozambique joins the Alliance for Affordable Internet, aiming to provide broadband at less than 5% of average monthly income; Mobile Termination Rates reduced by 20%; stable mobile ARPU despite increased competition; fibre optic backbone network rollouts; developments in ADSL, Vodacom signs deal with Electricidade de Mocambique to market pre-paid top-up cards for electricity via the M-Pesa service; cable TV, WiMAX, EV-DO, 3G mobile; operator data updates to Q2 2015, ITU market data updates; recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Telecomunicações De Moçambique (TdM); Vodacom Mozambique; mCel (TdM); Movitel (Viettel); Teledata (TdM); TV Cabo; Intra; Tropical Web, Seacom.